Writing for Esquire, Charles Piece stated that, "Every time we celebrate a president who does things from The Gut, we get in some terrible trouble. Barack Obama is not a man of The Gut, and it is driving official Washington crazy."
Indeed, Americans are used to presidents who shoot first and get the facts later (see Iraq).
In an interview this past Sunday, George Stephanopoulos asked Obama about the criticism he has received regarding his Syria policy. Obama responded, "Folks in Washington like to grade on style. And, so, had we rolled out something that was very smooth and disciplined and linear, they would have graded it well, even if it was a disastrous policy."
Indeed, it seemed that the television networks were downright disappointed that they would not be reporting on the bombing of Syria.
Perhaps they miss the good old days of riding shotgun on American tanks rolling into Iraq, when they didn't report on the war as much as they served as cheerleaders for the war.
In Obama's decision to consult Congress before sending missiles to Syria, said Piece, "The capital responded in many cases as though the president had abdicated his fundamental responsibilities rather than fulfilled them." Indeed, members of Congress, initially upset that Obama was going to bomb Syria without consulting them, had a temper tantrum the minute he decided to consult with them.
Some members of Congress believe the president looked weak in his dealings with Syria. But that statement is starting to look weak as the Obama administration works on sealing a deal with Russia that would dismantle Syria's chemical weapons arsenal without firing a shot.
I'm confused at how achieving Obama's goal of dismantling Syria's chemical weapons without firing a shot is perceived by some as worse than starting a war in Iraq, where there weren't weapons of mass destruction and where we spent a trillion dollars and the lives of thousands of Americans looking for them. Which one of these two outcomes looks foolish?
As Piece stated: "Much of the howling had more to do with the fact that the capital had been all riled up to make some war, and then the president took a walk on the lawn with his chief of staff and decided that he would consult with the Congress."
Was Obama reflecting on his actions as he walked? Was he thinking of other options and the consequences of these actions? Do Americans want a president who is reflective and concerned about the consequences of his actions without being overly concerned about looking weak?
Perhaps Americans have matured and learned, as Piece put it, that The Gut "is an idiot." Maybe after Vietnam and Iraq we have grown tired of the cowboy style of presidential leadership.
If we are successful in dismantling Syria's chemical weapons without going to war, perhaps in the future we will work harder to solve problems without the use of cruise missiles or a squad of Navy Seals.
For 16 years prior to the Obama administration we had to deal with Bill Clinton's sexual impulses and George W. Bush's black and white, "you are with me or against me" mandates for war. These guys didn't reflect on the consequences of their behavior, but followed their guts instead of their brains.
I'll take the reflective thinker any time.